When to Use NoSQL vs SQL: The Ultimate Guide for Choosing a Database

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John Kapantzakis
Senior Developer
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Originally published on Mar 16, 2021Last updated on Jan 23, 2023

Key Takeaways

What are SQL databases?

SQL databases are classified as relational databases which follow the relational model proposed by E. F. Codd in 1970. The relational model introduced the idea of organizing data as tuples, also known as rows, that are grouped into relations, also known as tables. 

What are NoSQL databases?

The term NoSQL appeared in the early 2000s and has gained popularity since then. The popularization of NoSQL systems began as the result of the need for scalability and flexibility, especially from tech giants handling large and diverse sets of data.

What's the difference between SQL and NoSQL databases?

SQL databases are suited for applications where the integrity of the data is important. If you have an application that handles critical data like financial information, you should use a relational database in order to be sure that any query you make will get you the correct response and that you will not accidentally lose any data. In this case, you want to have the maximum consistency, possibly by sacrificing a level of availability in comparison to NoSQL.